Thursday, December 20, 2012

Project Overview

Introduction: With the airing of Season 4 of Hidamari Sketch, discussions about the levels of yuri (lesbian content) in the show were held in some livewatch threads, primarily over whether Season 4 was gayer than previous seasons and over which character had the strongest yuri. The Hidamari Yurilevels Project is an attempt to create a resource of data that can be used to answer both these questions through a comprehensive semi-formal investigation of the series using subjective quantified data.

Methodology: The investigation will consist of a thorough analysis of all episodes of Hidamari Sketch, both in Seasons 1-4 and in OVAs. Each episode will be divided into scenes, and the characters present in a scene will be measured for their “yurilevel” (see below). These readings will be used to determine the yuri content of the episode and of each individual character.

The primary variable of the investigation is the eponymous yurilevel (denoted by Y). Y is a subjective, holistic, and discrete reading for the yuri subtext present for a given character. Y is subjective in that, no matter how fair or balanced I attempt to be in determining Y, it is in the end the sole opinion of the investigator, as a value such as Y cannot be objectively quantified in the same way length or mass can. Y is holistic in that it is a measure of the overall mood and tone of the character in the context of the scene, and does not increase or decrease within a scene due to certain actions or dialogue choices. Finally, Y is discrete in that it has fixed integer values, which are defined as follows:

0Yuri not present - no action or dialogue suggests a character is lesbian
1Yuri slightly present - a loose interpretation could define the character’s actions as lesbian, but they are most likely out of close friendship
2Yuri somewhat present - a character’s actions could be interpreted as evidence of yuri or not, or are ambiguous between “friendly” and “romantic”
3Yuri strongly present - most interpretations would mark a character as displaying yuri
4Yuri very strongly present - intense implications of yuri
A scene (denoted by S) is defined here as a fixed number of characters in a fixed setting. Scenes begin with the introduction of settings or characters, and end with the introduction of a new setting or the entrance or exit of a character (a character entering <20 seconds into a scene or a character leaving and returning in <30 seconds does not start a new scene). For the purposes of this investigation, the various areas of Hidamari Apartments and Yamabuki High School are counted as individual settings. A fixed setting is not necessarily one fixed in space or time; a scene where characters walk down a street is not counted as multiple scenes, and a scene where there is a time break that does not change the characters present or the physical location is not counted as multiple scenes. Things that are not counted with the total episode time count (the sum of all scene lengths) are shots with no tracked characters (usually establishing shots), bumper pictures (unless the same characters and setting are on both sides of the bumper), and OPs and EDs (which would significantly throw off readings due to their rapid-fire condensed nature).
Characters (denoted as C) followed in this investigation will be the Hidamari residents Yuno (Yu), Miyako (Mi), Sae (Sa), Hiro (Hi), Nazuna (Na), and Nori (No), as well as Yoshinoya (Yo),
the Landlady (La), Natsume (Nt), Kuwahara (Ku), and Chika (Ch). Characters that will not be included are minor or unnamed characters, males, and characters that are explicitly heterosexual (e.g., parents).
For other variables: the number of characters in a scene will be denoted by N, time in seconds will be denoted by T, and episodes will be denoted by E.

The scene is the primary unit of time in this investigation. For determining the Y of a scene, the equation used will be:

where YS is the yurilevel for a given scene, ΣYTot is the sum of Y for all tracked characters in the scene, and N is the number of tracked characters in the scene (characters that are not tracked in a scene are those that make no significant contribution to the scene, such as non-speaking characters or characters whose role could be replaced with a Post-It note with two sentences on it).
For determining the Y of an episode, the equation used will be:

where TS is the length of a scene in seconds, TE is the total length of all scenes in the episode, and YS is the Y for a given scene. The resultant figure is measured in Aokis (denoted by A). 1A is equivalent to 1Y per second.
For determining the Y of a character, the equation used will be:

where TSC is the length of a scene in seconds, TEC is the total length of all scenes in the episode, and YC is the Y for a given character in a given scene. The resultant figure is measured in Umes (denoted by U). 1U is equivalent to 
1YC per second.

Resources: Subtitles used for Season 1 will be by FuktLogic. Subtitles used for Season 1 OVAs and Season 2 will be SpoonSubs. Season 2 OVAs and onwards will be by Nutbladder. Consistency in subtitles will be sought but not guaranteed.

Plan of Investigation: Analysis will begin with a pilot study on Hidamari Sketch xSP 01 to determine the effectiveness of the given methodology. Upon finalization of the methodology, analysis will begin with Hidamari Sketch episode 1.

12/23/12: The initial version of this post did not include the Landlady (La) as a tracked character. She has been added. 1/22/13: The list of tracked characters initially included Arisawa (Ar). Due to the infrequent nature of her appearances, she has been delisted and counts as a side character for the investigation. The order of tracked characters has also been changed, and a clarifying example has been both broadened from "Yuno's parents" to "parents" and corrected in use of Latin phrase (from "i.e." to "e.g.").

1/25/13: Further minor edits, including capitalization of Aokis and Umes and removal of a redundant clause.
1/27/13: Corrected Kuwahara's tag from "Ka" to "Ku." 3/14/13: A clause in the "Variables" section of the Methodology originally said that bumper pictures were counted if "the bumper picture is relevant to the Y of a character not in the previous scene." This had become discredited early in the analysis, as bumper pictures tend to have the same issue as OPs and EDs of not being fully consistent in yuri content with the surrounding material, and has now been removed. 4/14/13: An awkward turn of phrase in the Introduction section ("which character was the most yuri") was fixed (to "which character had the strongest yuri"), a confusing wording in the Variables section ("entrance and exit of a new character") was corrected (to "entrance or exit of a character"), a misspelling of Kuwahara's name as "Kawahara" was fixed, and an error in naming the scene as the fundamental unit of time was corrected (the fundamental unit is technically seconds; scenes are the main unit).
8/24/13: Yamabuki High School was originally mislabed as "Yamabuki Academy." The name has been fixed.